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Specializes in Geriatrics.

I have a question about delusions. I have a patient who recently began having delusions, (we believe it started due to a new med now stopped). His delusions were extremely detailed and would last thru 2 or more shifts. Is this common? I know very little about delusions, I do know his are not dangerous to himself or others. Can someone give me a quick idea about length of time, how often they occur, and whether or not I should try to orient him.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Length of time they last depends on the cause. Get to the root of the cause and they'll stop. If you can't find the root, or can't fix it, they'll stay. They can be caused by all sorts of medical illnesses ot things like medications, lack of medications, not enough sugar or oxygen to the brain, misinterpretation of sensory things, and in someone over 50 one of the leading causes of acute delusions is a urinary tract infection.

Common? Depends on your definition of common. I've seen alot of delusions in a general hospital.

As for what to do about them...try to figure out if there's something causing them that you or the other staff members or the doctor can impact. You can try reorienting, but delusions tend to be pretty strong beliefs while they're happening, and the person might just feel disrespected if you reorient without trying other things, such as distraction, or talking about happy events...

gentlegiver, ASN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics.

We noticed the delusions started shortly after starting a new medication. We had the medication discontinued, but, it's been a couple weeks and they are still happening, tho not as often. All other tests are wnl, he was only on the new med for a couple days. Could the med have caused a permanent problem for him? By the way his delusions are kinda cute, they are about going on a trip with staff or about his wife & him going somewhere (she passed 10 yrs ago). They seem to be peaceful and happy for him.

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

When delusions come on suddenly they warrant a full physical exam and labs.